Countdown to COP 26 Glasgow from Hildegards point of view by Colleen Keating

Hildegard speaks out today reminding us to care for our planet,
with her words,
her music,
her knowledge of healing plants,
her writings on the cosmos,
her understanding of the interdependence of all of creation,
her instruction of not demanding over yields from the earth
and how the earth is our mother.

Hildegard writes,
“The earth is at the same time mother, She is mother of all that is natural, mother of all that is human. She is mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all.”
~ Hildegard of Bingen

Her words are even more important in the 21st century, 842 years after her last breaths, Hildegard’s voice is crying out for humanity now .

This year is our watch . We are the witness.

Our silence is our complicity

The 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian , Søren Kierkegaard, offers an allegory for our dilemma now at this time of red code for our planet.


“A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from wits who believe it’s a joke.”


However today it is more traumatic for on that stage we have a chorus of pearl- dressed women and dark-suited men serious, educated, sometimes religious who sing from the side that is all a hoax lulling the audience even sabotaging anyone who gets up for action while behind the curtain their self serving pork barrelling hurriedly goes on. Also leaders who reassure anyone in lullabies of reassurance we the masses of humanity will be kept safe and they speak for us, make decisions for us. and we will be safe.

How we treat mother earth is a reliable measure of how we treat ourselves.

The way we treat our people mirrors the way we treat the earth

How we treat the vulnerable, women, the aged, indigenous peoples children, handicapped mirrors how we treat the earth.

Ask, how many women have died as a result of Domestic Violence this year?

Ask, how many Australian Indigenous people have died in custody this year?

Ask, how many children have been abused this year?        

This year is our watch . We are the witness.

Our silence is our complicity .

counting dead women

i rose towards dawn
to sit by the big picture window

the sky black as raven wings
lay still and silent
like a dark night of the soul

i was desperately seeking
some colour some hope
upon the dark edge of the world
where sea and sky meet

my mind kept scribbling
names of women dead women
words of violence can’t be erased

as the darkness of the first news
counting dead women
crowds my mind
blankets my heart
even as the breath of dawn
spreads its radiance

Colleen Keating 2014

Published in A Call to Listen by Colleen Keating

Lockdown walk No. 7 Bedazzled by patterns of nature by Colleen Keating


So is the miracle of rock formations  and their beauty from sand and silt and pebbles laid down, forming rock and then sculptured by the sea and wind sometimes violently like the betrayer and sometimes caressing like a lover.
As we walk from The Entrance Beach around past the baths we enjoy the rocky shelf and headland sculptured by the wind and water and tides. It is waved and striated and patinated and honeycombed and is a joy to the eye.

coastal walk

my eyes trace lines
that curve and swirl
track contours and circled altars
waiting their tide reunion
where only soft padded periwinkles
and sharp edged oyster shells venture
landscapes of sculptures composed
by the dreamtime of water wind and sand
a patterned mosaic
dioramas unfolding
like silken threads from a mulberry tree

each line each ripple
a stretch mark wrinkle scar
has its story

with the tide the ocean
rolls and thunders
sometimes her fingers
like talons scratch and claw
yet eternally patient
her hands caress
love and mould
soothe and soften the violent edges
touch the secret caverns
and with each tide seduce a little more

poem Page 46 A Call to Listen

Fire on Water: a sneak preview



A sneak preview of my latest Poetry Collection,
                      Fire on Water
published by Ginninderra Press, South Australia.

Thank you to Stephen Matthews for such a professional presentation,
and my daughter Elizabeth Keating-Jones for the creative cover.
As a first step I took a few copies to the Society of Women Writers, July luncheon
and they sold like hot cakes. I am appreciative of such encouragement.

The poems in Fire on Water are divided into 7 sections .
Poems are as diverse as ‘visissitudes of a blue butterfly’
and ‘counting dead women.’





One of the poems included is  ‘ in search of Hildegard of Bingen’  which was short-listed for the Society of Women Writers Poetry Competition 2016 and which has recently been translated into German by Annette Esser  (Theologian, Scholar, Art Therapist and Teacher) to be included in a journal in Germany published September 2017 to celebrate the opening of a Pilgrimage Way that has been planned and worked on by Annette for many years now.  It will be opened on 17th September 2017. Hildegard’s feast day.

It is called Hildegardweg.  Attraktion fur Pilger und Wanderer.

The logo for the Hildegardweg is below. If you ever go to the Rhineland look for this sign and put your walking boots on.

Michael and I plan to do it when the International version opens in September 2019. Hmmm that means we will have to get into training!



The logo for the Hildegardweg in the Rhineland Germany

Fire on Water is my second collection of poetry and follows A Call to Listen . (2014).

Date for launch of Fire on Water  is to be announced.
The launch date is TBA

black swan event






black swan event

see on a lonely stretch of water
a wind choreographed dance
of black swans
noble stance
elegant moves
they dabble in brackish shallows
close in amongst the reeds

was it a shifty wind
that blew them in
was it the algae and duckweed
that`lured them
rare on this side of the lake

they dip their red beaks
then their long curved necks
like question marks
lift and stretch

sometimes not so elegantly
they up-end
bottoms in the air
black tutus flounced

some lift off fleetingly
with a wonk wonk wonk
running on water across the lake
their wide white-tipped black wings
bellow-beat the water
and with a whistling sound
like ballerinas glide back

how I’d like to get closer
even for a moment
let them know I am their friend
they are aware of me
and with each of my forward steps
they languidly glide further out

Colleen Keating

tokyo train

tokyo train

on a train
in cramped and swaying space
grey suited brief case smells
stuffy conforming silence

Speed shifts the strap i grip
feet rock in time to its rhythm
a dark blur of mean-shaped high-rise
corridor the tracks

blank faces caught
in alien worlds of electronics
outside flashing neon shout at numbness

we the night commuters
a brace of anonymity
breathe each others air
and pretend we’re not there

only my eyes out the window
beam as i glimpse the moon smiling on me
as she does on you in a distant land

tokyo markets



(FILE) November 10, 2012, Tokyo, Japan - The bustling Tsukiji Market, officially called Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market, is the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. Although best known for its seafood, the market also sells vegetables, fruit, beef and poultry. It handles more than 400 different types of seafood and employes more than 60,000 people. Together with two other Tokyo wholesale markets Tsukiji Market handles an incredible 675,000 tons of marine products a year. The first fish market in Tokyo was established near the Nihonbashi bridge, starting point of the important Tokaido road connecting Tokyo with Kyoto. After the market was leveled by the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923, it was relocated to the Tsukiji district, nearby Tokyo's famed Ginza Avenue. A modern market was completed here in 1935 and is still used today. But not much longer. In 2014 the market is slated to be moved to new facilities on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay. (Kjeld Duits/AFLO)
 Tokyo, Japan – The bustling Tsukiji Market,  is the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. Although best known for its seafood, the market also sells vegetables, fruit, beef and poultry and sweets and sweets and sweets. It handles more than 400 different types of seafood and employes more than 60,000 people. Together with two other Tokyo wholesale markets Tsukiji Market handles an incredible 675,000 tons of marine products a year.

tokyo markets
jammed with strolling locals
baskets and bags knocking and nodding
bustling shoulder to shoulder
the markets absorb
and huddle the people
here it’s about the splurge of living
here life pulsates
under swaying red lanterns

a lively buzz and brackish tang
lures me
to a cool sea-wash briny world
octopus tuna and sword fish
on rock salt and ice
eyes stare blankly
lobsters tap panic-like the glass of the tank
mackerel beat their tails in a shallow dish
crabs crawl and clamour over each other
a gasping fish with throbbing gills
waits on a sacrificial wet grey-scale altar
deep guttural cries of skilled hands
in wet galoshes and plastic caps
tout their wares sharpening their knives

a willow of a boy in the corner
with kokoro and pride in his stance
chants a mantra to buy his shrimp
his shrill soprano voice
in harmony with the rhythm of the sea
catches me as water sloshes underfoot


vendors flaunt boxes of sweets
their chants like a rehearsed choir
blend in harmony
pasted deep red azuki beans
coloured in chestnut hydrangea blue
cherry blossom peach and grape
are jellied and displayed to allure

the pied pipers of the food markets
in coloured caps cry out oishi oishi
and woo with samples on bamboo toothpicks
from sizzling pans and hot plates
crisp aromas that waft
crowds swarm like bees to a hive
at displays of tempura  teriyaki  sushi and soba
each on a bed of fringed green plastic leaves

i am immersed in the chaos of humanity
and feel at home



kokoro: with heart feeling energy

oishi: delicious

azuki beans: red skinned sweet beans, basis of most japanese sweets

dispossession 2

dispossession 2


today a dusty sun slants sepia light
an eerie still scene of a shanty town
on the outskirts of Lima in Peru

monotone brown
ruins rubble rubbish scant vegetation
brown dusty brown

the dispossessed
in makeshift shelters
never ending palette of desolation

here on the outskirts of Lima
like a barnacled mass they cling

one night ten years ago
in india
i lay in your arms weeping for the poor
having seen the sorrow in a mother’s eyes
felt the touch of a begging hand
and i asked why

here they do not look
they turn away
a water truck comes
to refill drums
for those who can afford water
earlier it had freely watered green grass
of our resort with its luxury pool

when i walk away
i do not weep
answers would choke with dust
i don’t even know the questions
just crave your arms around me
against this inequality

dispossession 1



“Without our land there is no life”

dispossession 1


black marble horsemen
with helmets medals and guns
celebrating the history of conquests
dominate santiago’s plaza des armas

yet i’m drawn by an abstract monument
catching morning light
history’s cry is its caption
without our land there is no life

its massive basalt boulders
circle like a gossip of standing stones
and mounted high
on a roughly hewn second tier
chiselled cracked and cut
as if lightening spilt the rocks
a shadowed noble face
bigger than life
its carved wistful eyes
look beyond the plaza people pigeons
to the mountain
once home of the mapuche people

around its base children play
lovers cuddle adults chatter
while first people still with indomitable spirit
bear memories of dispossession